|by Shawn Smith
First off, let's talk about what rock music is and is not. Rock music is a style of music. As such it is a form of art, and a means of communication. As a means of communication, it says whatever the person using it wants it to say, of course within certain limits. English does not have subliminal messages built into it that I am aware of, nor Spanish, or any other language. So why should rock music? Of course, Spanish is better than English at getting some ideas across, and vice-versa. So logically, rock music might be better at saying some things than others.
Now let's talk about rebellion. Many of Christian rock's critics claim it causes rebellion. Unfortunately, they never really back this claim up with either scientific evidence or credible support.
I would also like to point out that even if rock music did cause rebellion, that doesn't mean it's evil. Rebellion is good or bad depending on what it's directed against. For instance, being in rebellion against the individualistic, materialistic standards of our day would distinctly be a good thing.
Demons, yes I believe they exist. I believe they can oppress or possess people. They are mentioned in the Bible several times, and their actions are always destructive.
I do not however believe that demons inhabit a rock music beat or the speakers of the rock band playing. Whenever demons are dealt with in the Bible, they are always either troubling or possessing a person (Although Matthew 8:28-34 tells of them being cast into pigs, these are still living beings.) It never tells of a demon inhabiting an inanimate object and certainly not a musical beat.
The musician's motives - Yes, there are some Christian bands out there who are doing it for the wrong reason. There are people like this in every area of ministry. The presence of a few hypocrites does not disprove the entire ministry. (If it did Christianity would have been down the drain a long time ago.)
But, these people who trash Christian rock are in no place to judge others' motives anyway. That would mean they could see inside a person's heart and tell what they're thinking, and last time I checked, only God could do that. Paul said in I Corinthians 4:15 "It is the Lord who judges me." (NIV) and the Lord is the one who judges them too. So leave it up to him to know their motives.
Finally about the artist's motives, in Philippians 1:16-18 Paul talks about some people in his time who were preaching the Gospel with the wrong motives. "I've decided that I really don't care about their motives, whether mixed, bad or indifferent. every time one of them open's his mouth, Christ is proclaimed, so I just cheer them on!" (The Message) So, even if they have the wrong motives, they're still doing the right thing. Let God deal with their motives, he's the only One equipped to do so.
Christian rock's critics also say rock is a compromise with the world. That it is giving in and allowing the church to be corrupted. The problem with this is, lots of artistic movements must have originated outside the church, does that mean using them is evil too? That would seriously limit the kind of activities Christians could do. Christians might be restricted to just writing, but just possibly if a non-Christian came up with that, we couldn't even do that. But, I guess it would be worth it to avoid the horrible "corruption" of the world.
This isn't the first time the church has had problems of this sort. Earlier, there was a time when one church-goer1 complained, "We have introduced an artificial and theatrical music into the church, a bawling and agitation of various voices . . . amorous and lascivious melodies." Others didn't like the new music because "it used secular tunes, noisy instruments, and theatrical singing. Some complained that complex polyphony made it impossible to understand the sacred texts."2 Does any of that sound familiar? It should, those are exactly the same accusations being leveled at Christian rock music today.
What was their solution? They thought the best thing would be "Only monophonic music --- Gregorian Chant."2 Does that sound good to you? do you think that would work? That is what the Christian rock critics of today want to do to us! They would have the church left behind in irrelevancy, listening to music that nobody but them enjoys. If those fearful of change had succeeded in the Renniassance, there'd be nothing but Gregorian Chant in church today. This is the same battle. Do we move ahead and see progress and growth, or do we hang back and watch as we are left behind? Take your pick, but I know what I'd choose.
Another frequent claim of the rock critics is that rock music originated with the pagans. How does this line up with the facts? According to Roger Kamien, "early rock grew mainly out of rhythm and blues."3 Rhythm and blues, not surprisingly, came from blues. According to music professor Mark Heidel, blues came from African-American spirituals and songs sung by the slaves in the South.4
So, that would mean the rock music is descended from African-American spirituals and slave songs. That would mean that if Christian rock critics are correct, then those people were pagans. That would be calling all of our African-American brothers and sisters pagans, after all, this is their music. That doesn't mesh too well with Galatians 3:28 or Acts 10:34-35, which say that race is irrelevant in Christ's family, and that God doesn't care what race you are.
If you don't like rock music, fine, don't listen to it. But don't make up a set of rules forbidding it to the rest of us and then say God said so. God made each of us different, and I personally am thankful to him for that. I don't call your music which I don't enjoy evil, please do the same for me. And please if you are going to try and prove rock music evil, at least think and use logic when you're doing it. I have seen so many "proofs" that are full of holes and outright lies that a non-Christian might think that is the best we can produce. If you're going to do it, do it right (although I personally don't think you can do that right, since it is a lie.)
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